Notorious’ israeli settlers attempt to kidnap Palestinian children

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Notorious’ Israeli settlers attempt to kidnap Palestinian children

 Settlers from Yitzhar are notoriously hardline and violent [Getty]
Israeli settlers from the fanatical Yitzhar settlement allegedly attempted to kidnap two Palestinian children as they raided the nearby village of Madma.

from The New Arab

Palestinian villagers thwarted an attempt by Israeli settlers  to kidnap two Palestinian children in the village of Madma south of Nablus on Wednesday, it was reported by al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The head of the village council, Ehab Qat, told al-Araby that a number of settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar stormed the village and attempted to kidnap the two children, aged between 10 and 14, as they were tending to sheep in the eastern outskirts of the village.

Local sources said that the settlers, while in the presence of Israeli forces, followed the two children, who retreated back to their homes.Another source told Quds Press that clashes broke out following the kidnapping attempt, during which Israeli forces launched gas and sound bombs at locals.

The villagers are fearful of another attack as settlers and Israeli forces remain in the area south of the village, it was reported.

The area surrounding the northern West Bank city of Nablus has one of the highest concentrations of Israeli settlements and has often been a flashpoint for violence.

Yitzhar settlers are especially notorious for their fanaticism and violent acts against Palestinians, having routinely destroyed Palestinian olive groves and vandalised Palestinian property

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ICELAND – Jewish Community Survival Threatened As Iceland Set To Ban Jewish Circumcision

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Brit milah (circumcision) ceremony (illustration)

ARUTZ SHEVA – The leaders of the Jewish communities of four Nordic countries said that a bill proposing to ban nonmedical circumcision in Iceland “will guarantee” that no Jewish community is established there.

The presidents of the umbrella groups of Jewish communities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland issued the unusual warning Tuesday in an open letter to all Icelandic lawmakers in reaction to the submission last month of a bill proposing to ban all nonmedical circumcision of boys younger than 18 in Iceland, a Scandinavian island nation of some 300,000 people with a few hundred Jews and Muslims.

Lawmakers from four parties with 46 percent of the seats in parliament, including the ruling party, co-authored the bill.

If passed, “Iceland would be the only country to ban one of the most central, if not the most central rite in the Jewish tradition in modern times,” wrote Aron Verständig, Dan Rosenberg-Asmussen, Ervin Kohn and Yaron Nadbornik in the letter.

Referencing the Nazi prohibition on brit milah, Jewish ritual circumcision, they noted: “It would not be the first time in the long tradition of the Jewish people. Throughout history, more than one oppressive regime has tried to suppress our people and eradicate Judaism by prohibiting our religious practices.”

Iceland, they added, does not have an organized Jewish community today.

“Banning Brit Milah will be an effective deterrent and will guarantee that no Jewish community will be established,” they wrote.

Iceland is slated this year to receive its first resident rabbi in decades.

The open letter might be perceived as meddling in Iceland’s internal affairs, the co-authors conceded.

“And why should we care? The reason is that you are about to attack Judaism in a way that concerns Jews all over the world,” they wrote.

The Nordic Jewish community leaders urged the Icelandic lawmakers to follow Norway’s 2015 legislation on nonmedical circumcision, which introduced regulation while ensuring the custom’s legality under certain terms

Jews Dominated the Bloody Terror Apparatus of Stalin’s USSR

Russia Insider

This is an article from 2006 written by a Jewish author in one of Israel’s largest online news sites, Ynet. It calls for Jews to recognize their guilt in one of history’s bloodiest crimes. It’s original title was “Stalin’s Jews” Stalins Jews – Ynetnews

Here’s a particularly forlorn historical date: Almost 90 years ago, between the 19th and 20th of December 1917, in the midst of the Bolshevik revolution and civil war, Lenin signed a decree calling for the establishment of The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Sabotage, also known as Cheka.

Genrikh Yagoda

Within a short period of time, Cheka became the largest and cruelest state security organization. Its organizational structure was changed every few years, as were its names: From Cheka to GPU, later to NKVD, and later to KGB.

We cannot know with certainty the number of deaths Cheka was responsible for in its various manifestations, but the number is surely at least 20 million, including victims of the forced collectivization, the hunger, large purges, expulsions, banishments, executions, and mass death at Gulags.

Lazar Kaganovich

Whole population strata were eliminated: Independent farmers, ethnic minorities, members of the bourgeoisie, senior officers, intellectuals, artists, labor movement activists, “opposition members” who were defined completely randomly, and countless members of the Communist party itself.

In his new, highly praised book “The War of the World, “Historian Niall Ferguson writes that no revolution in the history of mankind devoured its children with the same unrestrained appetite as did the Soviet revolution. In his book on the Stalinist purges, Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Igal Halfin writes that Stalinist violence was unique in that it was directed internally.

Leonid Reichman

Lenin, Stalin, and their successors could not have carried out their deeds without wide-scale cooperation of disciplined “terror officials,” cruel interrogators, snitches, executioners, guards, judges, perverts, and many bleeding hearts who were members of the progressive Western Left and were deceived by the Soviet regime of horror and even provided it with a kosher certificate.

All these things are well-known to some extent or another, even though the former Soviet Union’s archives have not yet been fully opened to the public. But who knows about this? Within Russia itself, very few people have been brought to justice for their crimes in the NKVD’s and KGB’s service. The Russian public discourse today completely ignores the question of “How could it have happened to us?” As opposed to Eastern European nations, the Russians did not settle the score with their Stalinist past.

And us, the Jews? An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the “bloodthirsty dwarf.”

Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book “Stalin: Court of the Red Star”, Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.

Stalin’s close associates and loyalists included member of the Central Committee and Politburo Lazar Kaganovich. Montefiore characterizes him as the “first Stalinist” and adds that those starving to death in Ukraine, an unparalleled tragedy in the history of human kind aside from the Nazi horrors and Mao’s terror in China, did not move Kaganovich.

Many Jews sold their soul to the devil of the Communist revolution and have blood on their hands for eternity. We’ll mention just one more: Leonid Reichman, head of the NKVD’s special department and the organization’s chief interrogator, who was a particularly cruel sadist.

In 1934, according to published statistics, 38.5 percent of those holding the most senior posts in the Soviet security apparatuses were of Jewish origin. They too, of course, were gradually eliminated in the next purges. In a fascinating lecture at a Tel Aviv University convention this week, Dr. Halfin described the waves of soviet terror as a “carnival of mass murder,” “fantasy of purges”, and “essianism of evil.” Turns out that Jews too, when they become captivated by messianic ideology, can become great murderers, among the greatest known by modern history.

The Jews active in official communist terror apparatuses (In the Soviet Union and abroad) and who at times led them, did not do this, obviously, as Jews, but rather, as Stalinists, communists, and “Soviet people.” Therefore, we find it easy to ignore their origin and “play dumb”: What do we have to do with them? But let’s not forget them. My own view is different. I find it unacceptable that a person will be considered a member of the Jewish people when he does great things, but not considered part of our people when he does amazingly despicable things.

Even if we deny it, we cannot escape the Jewishness of “our hangmen,” who served the Red Terror with loyalty and dedication from its establishment. After all, others will always remind us of their origin.

The Banality of Good pt. 2: Blaming the Victim?

January 26, 2018  /  Gilad Atzmon

blaming the victim.jpg

Blaming the Victim? 

By Clara S. and Gilad Atzmon

To read part 1 http://www.gilad.co.uk/

German: https://opablog.net

Clara:   You know, when I saw the pictures of the kids killed in Gaza while playing on the beach in 2014, I was shocked again. But I was told to accept that these people had brought their fate upon themselves using their kids as human shields. Hadn’t I heard that before? Didn’t the Nazis say the Jews deserved to die because they had brought so much evil upon the world?

And you have just told me, that the Holocaust survivors were treated kind of the same by their fellow-citizens.

So here’s my next question: When I read your book I couldn’t help to think,
“Does Gilad really want to say that the Jews were responsible themselves for what had happened to them”? 

In chapter 21 you write: “65 years after the liberation of Ausschwitz we should be able to ask – why? Why were the Jews hated? Why did European people stand up against their neighbours”? (The Wandering Who?)

Isn’t that just like telling a victim of rape that she should have dressed more properly or stayed at home altogether? That is outrageous!

Gilad: ‘Don’t blame the victim’ is a popular, however problematic, proclamation. It begs for attention. We must ask some crucial questions who and what is a victim? What forms victimhood? What are the circumstances in which a crime is taking place? As you may imagine, I actually gave a lot of thought to these questions.  The ethical judgment here is far from being a universal algorithm. On the contrary, it is the particularity of the judgment that aspires at a universal maxim instead.

Let’s for instance examine the case of young woman X who was raped in the park in the middle of the night. She was subject to sexual assault something she didn’t consent to. The case of a rape is established. X was a victim. However, we also learn that X made a conscious decision to cross the park half naked, in the middle of the night, knowing that this given park is known for its bad reputation as far as sex predatory activity is concerned. Will you agree that while X is a victim of a rape, she, to a certain extent, brought it on herself?  She took an unreasonable risk.  And what would you say about X if you learned that she has been raped in the same spot on a regular basis five times a week for the last two decades? X is still a victim, those who rape her are still criminals, yet would you be interested to examine X’s mental making?

The case of Jews, Jewry and Jewish history is actually different altogether.  To start with, we are dealing with an ethnic group (as opposed to an individual).  Furthermore, I myself do not deal with people; Moshe, Yossef or Yaakov. I deal instead with ideology, culture and politics. The answer to the questions ‘Why were the Jews hated? Or why did European people stand up against their neighbours?’ led me to a study of the culture, the ideology and the politics that form Jewish identity. I ask ‘what is it in Jewish culture, ID politics and ideology that evokes animosity in so many different places and different times in history’?
I do believe, and this is fundamental to my work, that Jews like all other people are born innocent. I argue that some elements in Jewish culture, such as tribal chosenness, have made things complicated for many Jews all along Jewish history.

Clara:    Wait a moment: of course this victim isn’t acting very sensibly. But still, I hold to it that I want to live in surroundings where my safety is secured and I do not have to expect that kind of “activity”, no matter how eccentric I may be …

Gilad: This is somehow more fundamental than just being eccentric.

I believe that since Jewish history is a chain of disasters, we must understand once and for all ‘what is it in Jewish culture, politics and ideology that puts Jews, the people, at risk’. By the way, I didn’t invent this question. It is this question exactly that initiated the Zionist movement. It was thinkers like Bernard Lazare who elaborated on the Jewish question in an attempt to grasp, once and for all ‘why the Jews?’ The difference between early Zionists (Herzl, Lazare, Borochov, Nordau etc.)  and myself is that early Zionists believed that Jews could be morphed collectively into something else.  I am not sure that this is the case. I am not convinced that there is a collective solution to the Jewish question. I believe that some break out as individuals. I hope that I, myself, have managed.

Clara:   It’s also what communists tend to believe in, that they can forge a new and better kind of human being. I used to think that way, too. Today I have some doubts about how realistic that idea is.
But back to the question of ‘blaming the victim’ once more:It is a well-established fact that victims of abuse tend to seek the reason for what has happened to them in themselves. The guilt they feel is a way of finding a meaning in the egregious things they had to suffer, of trying to control the uncontrollable. Aren’t you doing exactly the same?

Gilad:   I certainly do.  I believe that considering Jewish history being a chain of disasters, Jews must examine themselves by means of self reflection instead of accusing the Goyim. As you know, I am a follower of the Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger who revealed to us that in art self realization is realization of the world. The more I look into myself, the better I understand the world around me.

Clara:    Well, I’m not sure. Many victims blame themselves for things they are 100% not guilty of. That is not a healthy way to cope with traumatic experiences.

 Gilad:   Who decides? How do we figure out the exact percentage of our accountability? Should we care about such percentage? I actually believe that understanding reality in categorical terms is way more helpful. Examining, for instance, the case of X may reveal that being a rape victim satisfies X’s needs. I guess that you can extend this analogy as you wish.

Clara:    If it were that way, we would indeed have to think about X’s frame of mind. But for us who do not draw satisfaction from being a victim it maybe all comes down to the question of responsibility. To take responsibility for the things I can change and to accept that there are a lot of things I cannot. It’s hard enough for an individual to find out which is which. Can a group go through such a process? Having started and lost two world wars the Germans as a collective have been blamed and blaming themselves for all the bad things which happened to them as a result. Now some people have started questioning whether the shock and awe tactics of bombing Dresden and other cities really was necessary to win the war (not to forget the atomic bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki). My mother, for example, lost everything she had during the bombing of Leipzig, luckily no one in the family was killed. But this is seen by others as an attempt of justifying the atrocities committed by my people.

However, if an individual like yourself claims to take responsibility for a whole group, the other members might not be amused. No wonder that some of your fellow Jews call you a well-poisoner.

Gilad:   I do not think that those people are my ‘fellow Jews’ for I haven’t been a Jew for many years and they aren’t exactly my fellows.  Rather than blaming Jews I ask Jews to look into their culture, ideology and politics and ask themselves why? Why pogroms, the Holocaust, anti-Semitism?  Zionism promised to transform the Jews, to make them loved, it failed miserably, why? If Jews are struggling to come with an answer, as I mention before, early Zionism is a good start. I, once again recommend the work of LazareBorochovEhad Ha’am and even Herzl. Responsibility, if you wish, starts with self reflection.

Clara:   So how would you describe yourself if not as a Jew?

Gilad: To start with I avoid any form of political identification … I am a jazz artist, I am a writer, I am British, I am an ex Jew and ex Israeli, I follow the message of Christ but do not follow any organized religion.

If they want to burn it, you want to read it …

cover bit small.jpg

Being in Time – A Post Political Manifesto, 

Amazon.co.uk  ,  Amazon.com  and   here  (gilad.co.uk). 

Four Days in Palestine: My Time with Bassem Tamimi by Miko Peled

Miko Peled
“Israeli forces killed more than twenty of my family members, arrested and tortured me, shot my son and now they are holding my wife and daughter, what do you say to that?” The reporter admitted he had no reply.

Bassem Tamimi speaks in front of a poster showing his daughter Ahed at his home in Nabi Saleh near the West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel’s hard-charging prosecution of his 16-year-old daughter who slapped two Israeli soldiers has trained a spotlight on her family and its role in near-weekly protests against Israeli occupation staged in several West Bank cities. (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

When you encounter face to face the systems of oppression as they are imposed by Israel on Palestinians, the shock leaves you searching for words. The dirt roads, dusty in summer and muddy in winter; the cold iron gates; the cement blocks; the metal revolving doors that start and stop abruptly, even violently and as you try to pass through; and the darkened windows from which orders are barked at people. The waiting areas where you sit waiting endlessly, knowing that the authorities have complete control of your time and you have no recourse, exposed to the elements, too hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. Life under Israeli rule means total disregard for your humanity and dignity. It means that any rude kid with a gun can and will control your life. Living as I do in the sphere of the privileged, I encounter this each time I travel to see my Palestinian friends.

I arrived in Jerusalem Tuesday afternoon and by Wednesday morning I was in Ramallah to meet my friend Bassem Tamimi. He was busy for a while so I sat at Stars and Bucks in Manara Square, had tea and argileh and watched the people in the street below. He told me that he had to be at Ofer military court at 4 p.m. for a hearing but at 1:30 p.m. he got a call from his attorney: “Bassem where are you? The hearing for Ahed and Nariman is at 2!”

They had been in jail at that point for exactly a month and, hearing after hearing, they were denied release for reasons beyond understanding. That day was going to be yet another hearing.

The Ofer military prison and court sit on land confiscated by Israel from the town of Bituniya, which is adjacent to Ramallah and just a few minutes’ drive from central Ramallah. I drove as fast as I could but the city streets are congested and because we are in a hurry it seems like it’s taking forever. As you approach Ofer there is an enormous open field. It was muddy from the rains and trucks and cars were parked everywhere. We got out of the car, walked between the puddles towards a gate and an enclosed walkway.

It is about a mile to get to the court. We go through one revolving door, then through the metal detector and our IDs are checked. Then a van that transports people the mile or so distance to the court complex comes by. We leave our phones, belts and money with the driver so that we don’t to have to take them off again at the next checkpoint. We get off and rush. Bassem’s phone is ringing again — it’s the attorney: “Where are you? They are already entering the courtroom.” As we rush ahead I can’t help thinking about Bassem — his wife and daughter are being held in that military prison, handcuffed and shackled, probably mistreated. It’s been a month and there is no end in sight.

We arrive at the final gate and I don’t have permission to go in. It takes twenty four hours to get the permission and I only arrived the previous day from overseas, so I wait in the open-air waiting area with a few Palestinians as Bassem rushes in. Waiting without knowing how long is part of the Palestinian experience. I see reporters and camera crews rushing in, wanting to report on what is now the biggest story coming out of Palestine: Ahed Tamimi, the 16-year-old girl who slapped an IDF officer. They have no idea that she is a daughter and that her father has to watch her small hands in handcuffs. He isn’t even allowed to speak to her.

Ahed Tamimi is brought to a courtroom inside Ofer military prison near Jerusalem, Dec. 28, 2017. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

My own daughter is one year younger than Ahed. I would lose my mind, I think to myself — but I never lived under military rule, under occupation, so I don’t know how to keep my composure when facing this sort of thing. After about an hour I see the camera crews starting to come out.

Journalist Mariam Barghouti fills me in on what happened. The judge refused to release Ahed and she must remain in prison until the trial. The reason the judge cited was that Ahed refuses to cooperate and pleads her right to remain silent — that makes her a danger, the judge said. And, as though things are not bad enough, her trial date is on her 17th birthday, January 31. Her mother, Nariman, is being held as well and her trial date is a week later, February 6. As I get this update and try to keep my head from exploding, Bassem is still inside giving interviews.

Twenty minutes later I see Bassem through the chicken wire. He comes out looking exactly as any father would look. Are there words to describe this feeling? I am at a loss for words again as we rush back to the car and drive off. His phone rings nonstop and he gives interview after interview — in Arabic, in English, then in Arabic again:

How do I feel? My wife and my daughter are being held by my enemy!”

The Times of Israel calls for an interview. This is a radical Zionist rag. They ask Bassem about Ahlam Tamimi and her husband Nizar. The two are relatives of Bassem, and have served many years in Israeli military jails. Ahlam was involved in the bombing of Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, which was located on a street corner I know well and often frequented. It is also across the street from the residence of the Israeli prime minister. Nizar was involved in the killing of a settler from the settlement Bet-El, which sits near Ramallah. They were both released from prison as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal.

How was Ahed influenced by her aunt Ahlam?” the reporter asked.

“Well,” Bassem replied, “both Ahlam and Ahed were influenced by the occupation and their want for freedom.”

“But Ahlam’s actions resulted in the killing of 17 Israelis – what do you say to that?”

“Israeli forces killed more than twenty of my family members, arrested and tortured me, shot my son and now they are holding my wife and daughter, what do you say to that?”

The reporter admitted he had no reply.

We kept driving, and fifteen minutes later the reporter called again: “We decided not to print the interview.”

That evening it was very cold and we stayed up late talking at Bassem’s house. Bassem’s three boys were home also. In the morning I could tell that the boys had been up late. When they got up they showed me videos of what transpired in the village while we were sleeping. Army jeeps screeching, engaged in what they call “clashes” with youth from the village. The army has a practice of entering villages late in the night, knowing this will disrupt people’s sleep, not to mention life. “There were no arrests,” the boys told us.

The Palestinian Authority has decided to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the case of Ahed’s arrest, so Bassem and I go to the office of Abu Jihad Al-Aloul, deputy leader of the Fateh party, to discuss this. We step in to Abu-Jihad’s office, Bassem introduces me, and we all chat for a while. Abu-Jihad reaffirms that the PA intends to take Ahed’s case to ICC and asks Bassem to return on Sunday to talk more. This was Thursday.

It’s late Thursday night when I leave on my return to Jerusalem. The road is dark except for the soft lights of Palestinian villages and the glaring lights of the Israeli colonies. I arrive at Ni’ilin checkpoint — a quick hello to the security people who man it and I am back in the sphere of the colonizer, driving along route 443, also known as Apartheid Road, passing by Ofer prison again but from the other side, where the road is paved and clean.

A group of Palestinian boys near a section of Israel’s separation barrier at highway 443 near the West Bank village of Beit Urr, Jan. 11, 2008. (AP/Kevin Frayer)

I love Fridays in Jerusalem. I have coffee with my mother, chat for a couple of hours, and then I am off to the city. My first stop is the Educational Bookshop on Salaheddin Street. Just think of the name for a moment. Salaheddin Street! Wow, a city that still has memories of this great Muslim warrior. “What are you doing out in this cold weather?” I am greeted as I enter the bookstore/cafe, which has become a sort of iconic meeting place. “It’s not that cold.” I reply and order warm Sahlab and tea with Nana.

The store is pretty empty when I enter but slowly it fills up. I contact my friend Munther Fahmi, who used to own another bookstore and was known as the Bookseller of Jerusalem. He owned the bookstore at the American Colony Hotel. Walking with him in the Old City of Jerusalem is a real delight. I know the city well, and I love it. For Munther the Old City is his backyard. He grew up running up and down the curvy alleys and stairways. He knows every shopkeeper and falafel stand and when he says a place has the best falafel, it really does have the best falafel in the city.

Munther and I were both born in Jerusalem. My family arrived in the 1920’s to colonize Palestine. His family traces its roots in the Old City of Jerusalem for centuries. I have full citizenship and full rights and he has no citizenship, not even permanent residence. He must leave the country in order to have his visa renewed. This is because, like me, he lived in the U.S. for many years and, also like me, he has a U.S. passport. Unlike me, Israel has taken away his Jerusalem ID because he is a Palestinian and — even though he returned many years ago, had a business and has a home in the city — they will not restore his legal right to reside in the city. But somehow all this did not hinder our joy of roaming the city on a cold wintery day. We ended up at the Jerusalem Hotel drinking tea before I drove him home.

Saturday evening, Bassem and I had a lecture at the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Beit Sahour and we decided to drive together. It’s a long and sometimes harrowing drive from Nabi Saleh which is near Ramallah, in the northern part of the West Bank, to Beit Sahour, which is near Bethlehem and in the southern part of the West Bank. The connecting point between these two parts is Jerusalem and, unlike Jewish Israelis like me who are descendants of colonizers, Palestinians like Bassem, who have been residing in Palestine since Adam and Eve were chasing each other naked, are not permitted to enter the city, not even to drive through it.

So we take an alternate route which is long, dangerous and annoying. Still, we make the most of it. We begin by driving through the windy old back roads enjoying Palestine in its full beauty — which Bassem and I agree is unmatched. As we go from one small picturesque village to another, Bassem tells me the names and the history of each place.

We arrive in Beit Sahour ten minutes early, just in time for a quick cup of coffee. Baha Hilo, local activist and friend, hosted us and introduced us at the lecture. The audience was made of young Europeans and Americans who were there to see and learn. We had a great deal to say, mostly that it is time to act. Palestine is bleeding and time is running out.


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israel imposes taxes on church, UN properties in Jerusalem

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MEMO | February 3, 2018

A general view from the tower of the Church of Redeemer shows the Dome of the Rock mosque and the cross of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the old city of Jerusalem, on February 17, 2014 [Saeed Qaq/Apaimages]

The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem began to impose taxes on church and United Nations properties in occupied East Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported.

The Israeli newspaper said today that the Israeli municipality will collect tens of millions of dollars from churches and United Nations institutions as a result of the real estate taxes.

It added that the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, changed the policy applied since the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

The Jerusalem Municipality informed the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister’s Office that it is demanding that church and international institutions pay municipal taxes on properties owned by them.

The paper pointed out that the ruling will affect 887 properties which belong to the church and the UN.

It is estimated that the municipality will earn 650 million shekels ($191 million) from the new policy.

“The talk is not about the role of worship, which is excluded from the property tax under the law, but properties that are used for purposes other than prayer and some are used for commercial activities,” Israel Hayom explained.

It added that this week the municipality imposed restrictions on the bank accounts of evangelical, Armenian and Roman churches on the grounds of non-payment of property taxes.

“The decision of the state [exemption] over the past years has caused losses of up to one billion shekels. It is unreasonable for the residents of Jerusalem to pay the price of garbage collection, lighting, gardening and street construction, while preventing the municipality from raising large amounts of money that could help it, Significantly in the development of the city and improve services for the population [of the listed properties].”

“Either the state will compensate us financially for not collecting these funds or we will collect them according to the law,” the municipality said.

US President Donald Trump’s decision last month to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has encouraged the Israeli government to annex large swathes of the city and force its laws on it. World leaders and international organisations rallied to condemn the move and its disregard for the final status negotiations of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Year In Review: Worst Abuses Against Palestinian Children

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Year In Review: Worst Abuses Against Palestinian Children

 The International Court of Justice and the United Nations General Assembly have both declared that the Separation Wall, built by Israel, is against international law and needs to be removed.
Defense for Children International – Palestine reports on 14 child deaths and at least 961 child injuries at the hands of Israeli forces in 2017; use of excessive force; little to no accountability; an average of over 300 children in the prison system each month, of which 75% are abused and many face solitary confinement.
Children held in Palestinian detention also face solitary confinement and abuse at times.
In Gaza the humanitarian crisis is causing great risk to children: the electricity and clean water shortages are creating a crisis in medical services; travel restrictions, the blockade, and airstrikes are making it difficult to seek treatment. A change in school programming is having a positive impact on children, making them less likely to be influenced by military-type recruitment.
And in the US, HR 4391 is gaining traction: the bill calls for basic due process rights for Palestinian children under Israeli military detention.

Ramallah, January 18, 2018—Last year marked 50 years of Israeli military occupation, with no signs of abatement in Palestinian children’s vulnerability to injury and abusive military arrest in the West Bank. Rapidly devolving living conditions in the Gaza Strip put in jeopardy the most basic human rights, as children became collateral damage in an internal Palestinian political standoff.

Israeli forces’ misuse of crowd control weapons caused critical and permanent injuries to some children while others endured ill-treatment amid high rates of military detention. An electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip led to the most severe downturn in the ongoing humanitarian crisis since Israel imposed a military blockade a decade ago, with hefty repercussions to children’s rights to clean water and health.

Israeli military and police brutality

Israeli forces killed 14 children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) during 2017, according to Defense for Children International – Palestine documentation. In addition, nine-year-old Mohammad Abu Hdaf died on December 6 due to injuries sustained during an Israeli drone strike in the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Five children were killed by live ammunition during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. Five more children accused of committing some kind of attack also sustained fatal gunshot wounds.

Israeli forces shot four Palestinian teenagers inside a car on March 23 during unclear circumstances near the Israeli settlement of Bet El, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah. Mohammad Khattab, 17, died on the spot, and Jasem Nakhleh, 16, succumbed to his wounds 18 days later. The two others sustained serious injuries, but survived.

An Israeli military statement confirmed “hits,” according to local media, but claimed that the children were shot outside their car, while throwing explosives toward the settlement.

Under the condition of anonymity, a witness told DCIP that Mohammad was shot when he got out of his stalled car near Bet El settlement, to push it. Mohammad jumped back into the car to try to escape, but the car did not start, according to DCIP’s source. The witness said Israeli soldiers then approached the car and opened fire on all four children.

Israeli forces routinely employ the use of excessive force and intentional lethal force in situations not justified by international norms, which in some incidents may amount to extrajudicial or wilful killings, according to documentation collected by DCIP.

International law requires that intentional lethal force be used only when absolutely unavoidable where there is a threat to life or serious injury. Where individuals allegedly carry out a criminal act, they should be apprehended in accordance with international law and afforded due process of law.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs(OCHA) reported at least 961 child injuries at the hands of Israeli forces in 2017.

At the time of publication, DCIP had documented 61 child injuries by Israeli forces from a mix of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and crowd control weapons in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and 28 in the Gaza Strip in 2017. Of these cases, 33 children sustained injuries to the upper body from crowd control weapons, in some cases causing irreversible damage.

Crowd control weapons are only “less lethal” when fired at the lower body, from a distance of 50 to 60 meters (164 to 197 feet) and not aimed at children, as stipulated by Israel’s own military regulations.

Israeli forces shot at least two children in the face with rubber-coated metal bullets and two children in the head with tear gas canisters during a two-week period in December alone.

An Israeli soldier on December 15 shot Mohammad Tamimi, 15, in the face at close range with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the West Bank town of Nabi Saleh. The bullet lodged in the back of his skull and caused severe bleeding in his brain.

Days before, 14-year-old Mohammad al-Farani was hit in the face with a tear gas canister shot by Israeli forces from a military watchtower 50 meters (55 yards) away on the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. He suffered a fractured cheekbone, head gash, internal bleeding in the brain, and permanent loss of his right eye.

The injuries took place as Israeli authorities used excessive force to quash widespread protests that erupted across the OPT following the United States’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6. Heightened violence was ongoing as the year came to a close.

Evidence collected by DCIP also showed that Palestinian children in East Jerusalem were particularly vulnerable to misuse of black sponge-tipped plastic bullets by Israeli forces.

Jerusalem residents Nour al-Din Mustafa, 13, and Tareq Mohammad, 15, suffered permanent eye loss after being hit with black sponge-tipped plastic bullets. Neither child was involved in confrontations at the time of injury.

Accountability is extremely rare in cases where Israeli forces are accused of committing crimes against Palestinian children. Israeli rights group Yesh Din reported that of 186 internal investigations into Israeli soldiers accused of harming Palestinians in 2015, only 3.1 percent of cases yielded an indictment.

Among Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces in recent years, only one incident, the fatal shooting of Nadeem Nawara, 17, in May 2014, has resulted in both an investigation and indictment.

Children in Israeli military custody

Between February and November, an average of 310 Palestinian children were in the Israeli prison system each month for “security offences,” according to Israel Prison Service (IPS) data. Among them were an average of 60 children between the ages of 12 and 15. The IPS does not release the yearly total number of incarcerated Palestinian children and has stopped consistently releasing monthly data since May 2016.

Israel has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the world that systematically prosecutes an estimated 500 to 700 children each year in military courts lacking fundamental fair trial rights. Children within the Israeli military system commonly report physical and verbal abuse from the moment of their arrest, and coercion and threats during interrogations.

Israeli border guards detain a Palestinian youth during a demonstration outside Lions Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Jerusalem's Old City on July 17. (Photo: AFP / Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli border guards detain a Palestinian youth during a demonstration outside Lions Gate, a main entrance to Al-Aqsa mosque compound, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 17. (Photo: AFP / Ahmad Gharabli)

Large-scale demonstrations, marches and clashes throughout the West Bank following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to publicly recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December corresponded with a spike in the number of Palestinian child detainees.

Louay al-Mansi, a Palestinian prisoner in charge of juveniles at Israel’s Ofer military prison, told DCIP that some 78 children arrived in December, more than doubling the number of child detainees to be newly incarcerated in the military facility from the month before.

Among those held in Ofer was 16-year-old Fawzi J., detained in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on December 7. He told DCIP lawyer Farah Bayadsi that by the time he arrived to interrogation, one of his shoes had been kicked off and he had been repeatedly beaten and verbally abused for nearly two hours.

“When I arrived at the checkpoint, I remember my face bleeding, mostly my lips because of the beating. They took me to a room, knocked me down to the floor and began kicking me all over my body,” Fawzi said a sworn testimony.

Fawzi told DCIP lawyer Farah Bayadsi of the extreme pain in his right shoulder, prompting her to demand a medical check-up on December 25 that confirmed a fractured shoulder sustained during his arrest. Late on December 27, Fawzi was released on 10,000 shekels (around US$2,900) bail and a third-party bond in the same amount. DCIP filed a complaint over his ill-treatment while in Israeli military detention.

DCIP collected affidavits from 137 West Bank children detained and prosecuted under the jurisdiction of Israeli military courts in 2017. The data shows that 74.5 percent of children endured some form of physical violence following arrest and 62 percent were verbally abused, intimidated, or humiliated.

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian demonstrators amid clashes in the West Bank village of Beita, southeast of Nablus city, on April 21. (Photo: APF / Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Israeli soldiers arrest Palestinian demonstrators amid clashes in the West Bank village of Beita, southeast of Nablus city, on April 21. (Photo: APF / Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Of the 137 children, 26 were held in solitary confinement for interrogation purposes for an average period of 12 days. The longest period of isolation for a child that DCIP documented in 2017 was 23 days.

At least five Palestinian minors were placed in administrative detention in 2017, a form of imprisonment based on secret evidence without charge or trial. Of these, three were released without charge after a period of two to seven months, leaving two still in administrative detention at year’s end. Another teenager placed under administrative detention in August 2016 when 17 years old, spent his 18th month in prison without charge or trial.

Israel has placed a total of 25 Palestinian minors in administrative detention since October 2015 when it renewed the practice against individuals under the age of 18.

International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in 1991, demand that children should not be deprived of their liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

Children in Palestinian detention

Palestinian security forces in the West Bank exhibited patterns of abuse against Palestinian children detained in 2017.

DCIP investigation into child detentions by Palestinian security forces showed they carried out arbitrary detentions through a non-transparent process rife with rights violations, including the use of solitary confinement and torture.

DCIP obtained information on 16 West Bank children arbitrarily detained by Palestinian security services other than the police in 2017, all except four at the hands of the Palestinian Preventive Security Service.

In one of the cases DCIP documented, the Preventive Security Service held a 17-year-old from Nablus in solitary confinement for three days in September, interrupted by physically abusive interrogation sessions without the presence of a lawyer or family member.

“I could not bear to stay in that facility, and I was thinking of a way to put pressure on them to let me out,” the teenager told DCIP in a sworn testimony. “I found a small metal object on the window, and I used it to make several cuts on my left forearm.”

The interrogators accused the teenager of manufacturing a weapon and possessing a pistol. “They shouted at me and threatened to hit me,” the teenager told DCIP. “In one session, [one of the interrogators] slapped me around 20 times on my neck.”

After an estimated 70 hours in detention at the Preventive Security headquarters in Nablus, the teenager was released.

The Palestinian Authority is legally obligated to abide by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it ratified in 2014, and the Palestinian juvenile protection law passed in 2016.

While signing these safeguards indicated progress in Palestinian Authority’s treatment of children, violations documented by DCIP in 2017 indicate gaps in fully aligning domestic juvenile legal framework and its implementation with international standards.

The juvenile protection law was only implemented in the West Bank owing to the political division between the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority. Accordingly, Gazan children remain subject to the outdated British Juvenile Offenders Ordinance of 1938.

DCIP documentation showed that children in conflict with the law in the Gaza Strip are also at severe risk of rights violations and ill-treatment, including torture, during detention.

Based on six cases documented by DCIP in 2017, three children endured torture during police interrogations. A fourth child was reportedly physically abused by police station guards and adult prisoners with whom he was forced to share a cell, prompting the boy’s suicide attempt and resulting death on September 22.

Downward spiral in the Gaza Strip

While the Gaza Strip began the year already entrenched in a humanitarian crisis, 2017 brought new threats to children’s human rights, especially at the peak of the electricity crisis.

Political divisions between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, along with taxation disputes, contributed to a serious degradation in children’s right to health, including clean water and medical care.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority stopped payments for a portion of the Gaza Strip’s electricity supply, bringing electricity levels to an all time low. Electricity shortages decreased children’s access to basic and emergency care, also increasing wait times for specialized medical services and surgeries. Without power, children with illnesses and disabilities reliant on medical equipment struggled to charge and use their equipment.

Around the same period, the Palestinian Authority pulled funding from the Gaza Strip’s already decimated health sector and local news outlets reported 30 to 70 percent cuts to Gazan civil servant salaries.

Palestinian children doing their homeworks during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams)

A Palestinian nurse tends to a newborn at the neonatal intensive care unit at the UAE hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 27, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Said Khatib)

Palestinian school girls walk in a flooded street during heavy rain in Gaza City on November 21, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams)

(Top): Palestinian children doing their homeworks during a power cut in an impoverished area in Gaza City, on September 11, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams) (Bottom Left): A Palestinian nurse tends to a newborn at the neonatal intensive care unit at the UAE hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on June 27, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Said Khatib) (Middle): Palestinian school girls walk in a flooded street during heavy rain in Gaza City on November 21, 2017. (Photo: AFP / Mahmud Hams) Reconciliation efforts started in October between the rival factions reached an impasse at the end of the year. UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities Robert Piper said in a statement that “most of the measures adopted by the Palestinian Authority since March 2017, which triggered the latest deterioration in the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, are yet to be eversed.”

School program reduces child recruitment risk

In a positive move for children’s rights in the Gaza Strip, government-run schools removed military-style drills from their Futuwwa, or youth, programs that focus on civics and health.

A DCIP 2014 investigation found strong links between the school-based Futuwwa program and highly attended winter camps hosted by Palestinian armed groups, which took place off school premises.

Following amendments to government school programs in 2017, neither the Futuwwa program nor the summer and winter camps appeared to constitute child recruitment under international standards. DCIP, however, remained deeply concerned at the potential of the program and the camps to serve as vehicles for future recruitment.

DCIP in 2017 found no evidence that children in the Gaza Strip were being used or recruited by Palestinian armed groups for any role in armed conflict, in the context of these programs. However, pervasive poverty keeps children vulnerable to recruitment and other forms of child labor.

Palestinian child bill gathers Congressional support

DCIP leads efforts to support the first-ever bill in U.S. Congress focused on Palestinian human rights, specifically grave human rights violations against Palestinian child detainees. The bill, titled Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act or H.R. 4391, prohibits U.S. financial assistance to Israel from being used to support the  ill-treatment and torture of Palestinian children in military detention.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum on November 14, had 19 co-sponsors by year’s end. The aim is to establish, as a minimum safeguard, a U.S. demand for basic due process rights for Palestinian children under Israeli military detention. This extends to an absolute prohibition against the torture and ill-treatment of detained minors, in keeping with both U.S. and international law.

The bill falls in line with concerns long recorded by the U.S. Department of State. In March, for the 10th consecutive year, the annual report on Israel made note of the prevalence of ill-treatment toward Palestinian children and Israeli military courts’ denial of their fair trial rights.

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